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Privacy, Bluffing and the Fig Leaf

Dan McReavy - 11/06/2015 13:17 CDT

Denver, Colorado, United States

There is an overwhelming obsession with privacy in the contemporary world because everyone is voluntarily, either out of ignorance or wittingly, broadcasting their ego and its manifestations to the world to varying degrees.  Prior to approximately the year 2000, the technology was insufficient for individuals to broadcast egos or for institutions to data-mine ego data systematically across society.  Up to this time in computer history, people enjoyed the easy connectivity with strangers and relative anonymity that private browsing and pseudonyms afforded them.  Where we are today is different than any other time in history going all of the way back to the initial "Garden of Eden" condition.

Garden of Eden Condition - Naked, blissful ignorance

My position is that privacy is, and always has been, a human-contrived phenomena, but it is not the natural state of existence and, thus, requires varying amounts of resources and degrees of effort to be expended in an effort to TRY to maintain the private veneer of a piece of information (any particular secret).  The persistence of a secret is finite, if it is of meaningful social value.  By value, I just mean that the secret isn't something completely trivial.  All valuable secrets are eventually publicized.

In this respect, I anticipated the Snowden event and was not particularly moved by Assange before him.  If it wasn't them, there would be others.  The present circumstances of both actors are also predictable outcomes of their actions in response to the predictable sovereign responses.

This is what I explained to one member of a "politically influential family" in 2012, but, a person privileged by secrets, can only think in terms of putting everything back in Pandora's box.  This is the same position of the sovereign, but just because the sovereign has a position prevailing at this time does not mean that the position will persist indefinitely.  This is evident in the evolution of property rights and suffrage.

This takes us to the individual's awareness of ego data-mining and responding by cultivating multiple personalities in an effort to obfuscate the individual's true ego and identity.  The sovereign is creating the distrust across society because the sovereign's innocence has been exposed as a bluff itself.

Immoral laws are impossible for society to sustain, if legislated to begin with, because they are not in harmony with nature.  In contrast, moral laws are easy for society to uphold because they are in harmony with nature.  Legislating privacy won't ensure privacy and will only create new crimes and sources of revenue for the sovereign while digging an invisible moat around society's wealthiest and most-powerful institutions and individuals.  Society's wealthiest and most-powerful institutions and individuals have an asymmetric risk compared to the asymmetric reward that the common person has to the emergence of a transparent society.

In summary, these considerations lead me to holding the position that privacy is a human ideal, itself unnatural, and that society will continue to trend toward the initial and natural state of transparency.  Interventions to arrest the trend will become increasingly expensive, complex and impractical as they reflexively proliferate systemic distrust.

My last thought is, if you woke up one morning as the last person on earth, having awareness of this fact, what would you wear that day?